PM lays stone for Rs12,000-cr Chardham highway project

27 December 2016

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today laid the foundation stone for the Chardham highway project, a Rs12,000-crore project to improve connectivity to the four main Himalayan pilgrimage centres in Uttarakhand, called Char Dham.

The Char Dham Mahamarg Vikas Pariyojna, or the Char Dham highway development project, is an ambitious initiative to develop around 900 km of national highways in Uttarakhand.

Ahead of his visit, PM Modi tweeted, ''Will visit Devbhoomi Uttarakhand today for the inauguration of a key infrastructure project, the Char Dham highway development programme. Char Dham highway project will lead to creation of over 900 km of roads. Connectivity and tourism will get a strong boost through the project.''

''Adding of bypasses, tunnels, bridges and flyovers will ease travel. Proper slope stabilisation will ensure protection against landslides,'' he added.

The project will make travel to the Char Dham (Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath) safer and more convenient.

The project involves widening the existing, geometrically deficient highways that connects the four abodes. Apart from widening, the road transport and highways ministry plans to improve the stretches to two-lane carriageway with paved shoulders, protect landslide hazard zones, bypasses, long bridges, tunnels and elevated corridors to ensure safety for the users.

The Char Dham highway project includes widening of the following:

  • NH-58 A length of 140-km from Rishikesh to Rudraprayag, including  594-metre-long high-level bridges;
  • NH-58 A 160 km stretch from Rudraprayag to Mana Village (including mitigation measures for chronic Lambargarh land slide zone);
  • NH-94 A 144 km stretch from Rishikesh to Dharasu involving 430- metre long tunnel near Chamba;
  • NH-108 - A 124-km stretch from Dharasu to Gangotri, including mitigation measures for three land slide zones;
  • NH-94 A 95-km stretch from Dharasu to Yamunotri, including 5 km-long tunnel near Sylkyatra bend;
  • NH-109 A 76-km stretch from Rudraprayag to Gaurikund, including 750 metre-long viaduct near Sonprayag;
  • NH-135 A 250-km stretch from Tankpur to Pitorgarh, including three by-asses to the congested town.

These highway projets add up to a total length of about 889 km.

A team of experts is already on the job to identify zones that are prone to landslides. Environment friendly techniques are being incorporated in the design to make these zones safer.

The cost would include civil construction as well as land acquisition, forest clearance and utility shifting. Work on the project amounting to Rs2,000 crore has already been started under the Char Dham programme, particularly on the stretches which are free from encumbrances. Road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari expects the project to be completed by 2018.

The highway network along Char Dham got severely devastated following the cloudburst in 2013. The Modi-led government, which came to power since decided to upgrade the national highways network in the upper Himalayan region.

The roads leading to Gangotri and Badrinath are also equally important from a strategic point of view as these roads are used for supply and deployment to the defence establishments along the Indo-China border areas in Uttarakhand.

Addressing a Parivartan Rally in Dehradun the prime minister said, ''The inauguration of Char Dham project is a tribute to those who lost their lives during Uttarakhand flash floods''.

Modi said ''the previous governments could not fulfill the basic needs of the people''

Stating that tourism is the biggest asset of Uttarakhand, Modi asked, ''If facilities are provided, then which family in the country would not want to come here?''

Char Dham project will also improve employment opportunities for the people of Uttarakhand, he pointed out.

Addressing the rally, Modi said that even after so many years of independence 18,000 villages in the country still do not have electricity. ''My government took the initiative and said that we will electrify villages within 1,000 days. Over 12,000 villages have already been electrified, said Modi

''We are doing the job of providing gas connection to five crore poor families in three years,'' he added.

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